Thousands expected to attend Sailfest 2013 - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Thousands expected to attend Sailfest 2013

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SAILFEST 2013 events including setting a world record on Sunday SAILFEST 2013 events including setting a world record on Sunday
NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

Sailfest 2013 started Friday night in the city of New London and this year's events feature the replica of the Amistad, fireworks on Saturday night and the possibility of breaking a world record on Sunday.

The highlight of the summer in New London is expected to draw crowds in the tens of thousands again this year.

While the crowds come to see the sailboats, the big event is the huge fireworks show Saturday night on the harbor hosted by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation and Foxwoods.

Downtown business owners told Eyewitness News they love the new foot traffic.

"Our business is based on locals, we get locals all year round," said business owner Barry Neistadt. "But anything extra is always a positive."

The replica of the Amistad, which is the slave ship that arrived in Connecticut in 1839.

"There is so much slavery in the world today," said Capt. Greg Bailey, of Amistad. "The Amistad's mission isn't over just after telling the story of the slavery revolt in 1839 on board."

Brian DeMartino, of East Haddam, said it was "pretty cool" seeing the Amistad.

"One of the reasons we wanted to come down, we've never been here before," DeMartino said. "I wanted to see the sailing ship."

On Sunday, the organizers of Sailfest want to beat the Guinness Book of World Records on most high fives.

"So what we're going to do is line people up on Bank Street and have everybody give each other a high five for the city of New London and Sailfest, all in good spirits," said Sailfest Director Barb Neff. "And we 're going to videotape and send it to Guinness, hopefully to win the record."

There is plenty of security. Police said no backpacks and no dogs are allowed at Sailfest.

The event is on until 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

People are advised to come early to the annual fireworks show, which is slated to start at 9:20 p.m. Saturday.

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